Book Review: All Our Wrong Todays
By: Elan Mastai
Published By: Dutton
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Page Count: 384
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Adult - Science Fiction
“Meet George Jetson. His boy, Elroy. Daughter, Judy. Jane, his wife.” Yeah, I was singing that in my head too. That shiny future of flying cars, robot maids, and moon colonies was what we were supposed to have – what we actually did have, until someone messed up the timeline. Tom Barren, son of the brilliant scientist who invented time travel, attempts to visit the most important event in history and strands himself in our version of 2016. Our reality is a messy, scary nightmare to Tom compared to the techno-utopia he grew up in.
Do not be afraid of the science fiction! (I say that a lot, don’t I?) Seriously. All Our Wrong Todays has something for everyone: family drama, a love story, humor, mad (or at least seriously bent) scientists, and yes, time travel and alternate timelines. It sounds like a lot going on, and it is, but the way Elan Mastai weaves these different threads into a coherent whole is spectacular.
Imagine how your family or love life might play out in an alternate reality: different jobs bringing out previously dormant personality traits, maybe even having different family members altogether. In his original reality, Tom has the father of all daddy issues. His distant, critical, “only agreed to a child to give his wife someone to keep her company” father wants nothing to do with him, especially after Tom’s mother dies in a freak accident. But his father in our reality is quite different. Or, what about the one you find yourself in love with who is always out of reach? Tom had one of those. She’s in our reality too, but much more approachable. Will Tom figure out how to restore history, or decide to live in this new reality?
Reading All Our Wrong Todays was like visiting a friend. The witty, conversational style of All Our Wrong Todays not only drew me in, it practically pulled up a chair for me and poured me a drink. When the visit was over, I was both amused and delightfully uplifted. We may all strut and fret an hour on the stage of life, but Elan Mastai has Tom tell a tale full of sound and fury, signifying everything. Love this book!
You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary.
Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.
But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.
All Our Wrong Todays is about the versions of ourselves that we shed and grow into over time. It is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms. Filled with humor and heart, and saturated with insight and intelligence and a mind-bending talent for invention, this novel signals the arrival of a major talent.